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NCJ Number: 98574 Find in a Library
Title: Legal Spectrum - The Goodtime Laws
Journal: Anglolite  Volume:10  Issue:2  Dated:(March 1985)  Pages:78-86
Author(s): R Wikberg
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A review of Louisiana 'goodtime' laws indicates that they have lessened the dependence of good time credits on inmates' positive behavior by making such credits automatic with the passage of sentence time; this contradicts the original constructive purposes of good time law, which were to enhance inmate rehabilitation and prison discipline.
Abstract: Revisions in Louisiana goodtime law over the years have consistently decreased inmates' opportunity to decrease prison time by engaging in laudable conduct, work performance, and self-improvement. Louisiana now provides automatic goodtime credits effective at the time the sentence is imposed. Inmates may forfeit or reduce the scale of goodtime credits by misconduct, but they cannot increase the amount earned through exemplary behavior and work performance. A review of the literature and case law indicates that Louisiana goodtime legislation has been plagued by reverberations in the courts. It has raised the issues of (1) additional punishment not imposed in the sentencing, (2) the application of goodtime credit to time served before a retrial and subsequent sentencing, (3) the use of goodtime credits in pretrial detention when the person is subsequently convicted and imprisoned, and (4) the computation of goodtime credits in individual cases. The existing automatic goodtime, which treats every inmate equally, should be supplemented by discretionary goodtime credits which can be earned by meeting criteria for exemplary behavior. Also, goodtime credits should be increased from 15 days to 25 days per month, so as to reduce prison crowding.
Index Term(s): Good time allowance; Judicial decisions; Louisiana; State laws
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